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Octopus Vulgaris - with eggs


May 23, 2009

I'm manager of a Marine department in a petstore.
We former had very good succes with keeping different octopus' (Wunderpus photogenicus, Octopus Vulgaris)
for display/show.
One of our Octopus Vulgaris laid eggs one day after arrival to its aquarium, and I read that the female will die shortly after hatching.

Should I remove the eggs to prevent my beloved Co-worker from dying? Or will it not have any effect?

When does the male fertilize the eggs? When the female lays them or before?
If they are fertilized before laying, can I put them in another tank for hatching?

Im very stunned over finding this forum! Im a very big Octopus/squid fan, but haven't found so much information as this forum can provide! Thanks!
Sep 16, 2005
:welcome: You don't have to remove the female octopus, she is going to die with or without the eggs. You can keep offering her food and keep her water pristine. The male mates with the female before she lays the eggs, so it is possible they are fertile. You will see the little embryos after awhile in the eggs. Unless you have access to live plankton, it may be difficult to raise the hatchlings.


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Nov 20, 2002
Welcome to the site! :welcome:

Yes, you'll find a lot of information here, and also some wonderful accounts of keeping octopuses complete with photos.

Sorry your vulgaris is nearing the end of her life. You get very attached to octopus pets.



Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Welcome! Better late than never :wink:

The vulgaris is a small egged species unfortunately and the success rate for any of the small egged octos is close to zero (a few large aquariums - not sure if an in the US - have had success with keeping a small number of vulgaris alive using flow through seawater. The last account I remember reading, the young did not survive beyond 2 months though). The known failure rate does not keep members from trying though and some have recorded their efforts in the journals. Look for aculeatus and hummelincki journals for some of those attempts.

Keeping the mother eating should give her more time with you but the success rate with that has been low as well. If she cannot be convinced to eat, we have seen the mothers die anywhere from one day to two weeks after hatching Incubation for the small egged species we have seen lately (not vulgaris) seems to run between 10 and 14 days, where the larger egged species can incubate for up to 10 weeks. Actual egg hatching for the larger egged species can take up to 10 days but I am not sure about the smaller egged octos.

I have had success feeding one female mercatoris (dwarf, large egged) during incubation by putting Cyclop-eze (frozen not dried) in the tank daily and offering dead shore shrimp suspended from an airline tubing placed directly into the den (she would also take dead crabs this way but nothing alive). After the hatching she would only eat the Cyclop-eze but she did continue to survive for a full 11 weeks post hatching.

Please consider starting a journal for the vulgaris (please include the word vulgaris in the title for ease of reference, also the name if she has one to help keep track of individual octos). Even though she will not be with you long, recording the incubation, feeding success/failure and hatching is helpful to all of us who end up in this situation.